Our Team

Drew Andrews

W. Drew Andrews, EdD., is the Director of the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities at the University of Central Florida. He received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of North Florida and specialist and Ed.D. in Education from the University of Florida.

Drew taught elementary, middle and high school students with disabilities, developed transition programs for students ages 18-22, coordinated secondary transition services for one of Florida’s very large districts, served as exceptional education and student services director, and directed a statewide technical assistance center for secondary transition. Download CV

Iris Neil

Iris Neil, M.Ed., is the Program Manager & Outreach Coordinator for the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities at the University of Central Florida. Iris coordinates professional development, including monthly webinars, for the Center as well as develops and disseminates materials to promote Florida Comprehensive Transition Programs (FPCTPs).

Iris has taught students with disabilities in both K-12 settings and at a FPCTP and mentored exceptional student education (ESE) teachers. Iris was a district coordinator for secondary curriculum and transition services in the 12th largest school district in the nation. While in this role, she collaborated with other institutions of higher education (IHEs) to create a Transition and Postsecondary Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) on a private university campus. She worked with state ESE staff in writing the initial TPSID grant Florida received. Additionally, Iris has worked with non-profit organizations as an advocate to help parents navigate exceptional student education services and adult disability services. She was recognized by Florida DCDT as a “Who’s Who in Transition” award recipient. Iris received her BA in Special Education at the University of Florida and her Master of Education in Educational Leadership at University of North Florida. Her career focus has been to guide students with disabilities, and their families, as they transition to independent adult living.

Claudia Bello Punto

Claudia Bello Punto, M.S.M. Business Analytics, is the Assistant Director Infrastructure and Systems Management at the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities at the University of Central Florida. Before her current position, she worked at SOFTEL (Havana, Cuba) as a Web Developer, helping doctors to analyze images using Machine Learning and Neural Networks algorithms.

Before her position at SOFTEL, she worked as a researcher at CENATAV (Havana, Cuba). Claudia researched and developed a set of toolboxes to aid Digital Signal Processing and Speech Recognition. She published an article on Pattern Recognition about Speech Quality Measures at the Iberoamerican Congress. She received her engineering degree from the Technological University of Havana and her master’s degree from the University of Central Florida.

Drexler James

Drexler B. James is the Marketing Communication Specialist II for the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities at the University of Central Florida. He earned his undergraduate degree in Journalism from UCF in Dec. 2013 and earned a dual Master’s degree in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management from UCF in Dec. 2022.

Prior to his current role, Drexler worked as a Communication Specialist from 2017 – 2022 for the UCF College of Health Professions and Sciences (previously known as the College for Health and Public Affairs). Before working for UCF, he worked as news reporter from 2013- 2017 at The Villages Daily Sun newspaper, where he covered charitable giving and volunteerism, social services and social issues. His areas of specialization include marketing, brand development, communication skills, writing, editing, and social media. In his spare time, Drexler enjoys expressing his creativity through music, acting, writing and cooking. He also enjoys exploring the city of Orlando, reading books, working out and spending time with his family and friends.

Christian Zimmerman

Christian Zimmerman M.Ed. is one of our Technical Assistance Coordinators, working with existing and potential technical colleges to develop their Florida Postsecondary Transition Programs (FPCTPs). Christian earned a Master of Educational Leadership from the American College of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of South Florida. Christian is also a doctoral student at UCF, where he is working on his Ed.D in Exceptional Student Education.

Prior to joining our team, Christian was the program coordinator of the How I Reach Employment (HIRE) Program in Lee County. Christian is originally from Oregon, but he has lived all over the world and still enjoys traveling whenever he has the chance. In his free time, Christian enjoys reading, watching plays (anything Shakespeare), and spending time with his family.

Sheryl Sandvoss

Sheryl Sandvoss is a Technical Assistance Coordinator at the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities. She works with colleges, universities, and technical colleges across the state to develop Florida Postsecondary Transition Programs (FPCTPs). Sheryl earned her undergraduate degree in special education and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Florida State University.

Before joining our team, Sheryl was the secondary ESE coordinator in Volusia County. She also served as the state director for the Florida Inclusion Network, a special education director in the Florida Department of Corrections, and has worked with the Florida Department of Education Bureau of Exceptional Education. Sheryl enjoys reading and spending time with her family in her free time.

Alex Trilling

Alex Trilling is the Web Content Specialist II for the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities at UCF. He earned his bachelor's degree in Psychology at UCF in 2012 and returned to UCF to complete a full stack web development bootcamp in 2018. Before joining the team, he was working as a front-end developer and technology consultant at Capco, where he worked with enterprise financial institutions on their web applications. Alex enjoys writing music, traveling, playing games, cooking, and spending time with friends and family. He is also interested in playing tennis and pickleball.

Zaki Ahmad Rathore

Zaki Ahmad Rathore, M.Sc. Computer Science, is graduate student at the University of Central Florida and working as a Graduate Assistant at the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities. Zaki is supporting the website development and Salesforce infrastructure for FCSUA and has experience in multiple areas within the technology spectrum including web development and cloud integration pipelines. Prior to his current position, he was working as an IT Intern in the Rating Modernization department at FedEx Services where he worked as a Full Stack Developer to assist the Rating Data Management platform.

Before FedEx and UCF, Zaki worked as an Software Integrations Engineer in Royal Cyber (Lahore, Pakistan) and Systems Limited (Lahore, Pakistan) where he supported multiple iPaaS projects from discovery to delivery for over 3 years. His experience involved around custom development, pre-sales and resource trainings across enterprise.

Maria Pichardo

Maria Pichardo relocated from NYC to Orlando FL 8 years ago. Prior to her move she was employed for the City University of NY for 16 years, working as the Academic Coordinator for the Continuing Education Department. The Department of Continuing Education studies offers noncredit, low-cost training to the community so they may successfully enter the workforce. Maria also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. As a mother of a child with a learning disability, she is an advocate for Florida Postsecondary Transition Programs (FPCTP’s).

During her free time, she enjoys watching horror films along with spending time with family and being an active volunteer in cat/dog rescue. Her dream one day is to open her very own rescue organization that also provides training to students with learning disabilities so they can find employment working alongside animals.

Shivam Singh

Shivam Sing, M.S. Computer Science, is a graduate student at the University of Central Florida, working as a Graduate Assistant at the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities. Having worked as a Senior Software Engineer at LTIMindtree (Mumbai, India) for over four years, Shivam has a rich background in web development. His efforts have consistently resulted in enhanced system performance, security, and user experience.

Beyond his technical skills, he is a dedicated leader and mentor. At LTIMindtree, he led a team of recent graduates to develop proofs of concept for ideas that can significantly improve operational efficiencies. As the General Secretary of his college’s Students’ Association, he drove initiatives that integrated electronics and computer science disciplines and restructured the revenue model to triple the annual revenue.